Movie Review:’Dharam Sankat Main’ by Neha Ravindran

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Movie: Dharam Sankat Main
Director: Fuwad Khan
Cast: Paresh Rawal, Naseeruddin Shah, Anu Kapoor
Genre: Social Satire

Hollywood remakes have a distressing history in the Indian Cinema. They either end up as senseless, boring or hilariously comical; though undoubtedly occasionally we have a winner. But the occasional rises occasionally! Dharam Sankat main, from the makers of the blockbuster movie Oh My God!, is inspired from the British movie ‘The Infidel’. This is the first Bollywood movie to have 3 National Film Award and Filmfare Award winners in its cast.
The movie begins with a 5 minute tribute to the sponsors of the movie, as the camera pans from an Eon washing machine to Lux Cosy Banyan. Dharam Pal (Paresh Rawal) is a religious man of convenience, i.e. he remembers god on his convinience. Nawab Mehboob Shah (Anu Kapoor) is a lawyer who is also Dharam Pal’s neighbour and the two are always at logger heads. Their fights often end with religious comments and insults. And then one day, Dharam Pal discovers that he was born to a Muslim mother but adopted and raised in a Hindu family. Caught n the web of religious and family politics, will Dharam find his roots or get uprooted in the process?
The basic storyline is to highlight how religion is simply a concept created and sustained by man, but it falters and fails to play out the right cards. The script and the dialogues fail to find a perfect fit together and hence, the punches do not hit the right notes. The supposed high points of the movie hit its lowest towards the second half. You will find several connotations to incidents from the real world, but none of them add any special charm to the movie. Paresh Rawal and Naseeruddin Shah are two of the finest actors of our times and the finesse and quality of their acting if reflected in the movie. But Anu kapoor steals the show. His dialogue delivery is fantastic and does complete justice to his role in the movie. Some of the songs kept ringing in my ear long after the movie because of their catchy soundtrack, but there is none that I would pick out as my favourite.
I could sense a derailed presence of the movie Oh My God! in the movie but Dharam Sankat Main is a far cry from it. Though a well intentioned effort, the movie steadily slides down to an inevitable crash. You can either chose to see the movie for what it intended to be or you can wait for a television premier. Or then there is Leela!
My verdict: *

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